City of SLO Experiences 13% Overall Reduction in Crime in 2017
The City of San Luis Obispo experienced a 13 percent overall reduction in crime in 2017, including a 2 percent reduction in violent crime and a 14 percent reduction in property crime. The decline was largely driven by increased intelligence led policing philosophies and improved relations between law enforcement and residents, including efforts led by PACT (Police and Community Together) and PEACE (Policing Education and Community Engagement), two community programs launched by the San Luis Obispo Police Department (SLOPD) in January 2017.
PACT (Police and Community Together) is a partnership with a committed and diverse group of the City’s most marginalized community members/advocates who collaborate with law enforcement to affect positive social change through dialogue, education and understanding. Currently, PACT has representation from leaders representing the Jewish, Black, Latino, Muslim, LGBTQ, Interfaith, Student and Homeless/Mentally Ill communities.
PEACE (Policing Education And Community Engagement) is fashioned after a citizen police academy and is designed to engage the community in learning more about policing practices, policies and what it takes to police a community. In 2017, PEACE presentations were provided on topics including Policing a Community, Use of Force, Body Worn Cameras, and Mental Health: Police and Community Resources. The next PEACE class is April 23rd at French Hospital, where police will be discussing how to respond to an active shooter incident. To sign up, visit the SLOPD webpage under PEACE.
Other efforts undertaken by SLOPD to reduce crime in 2017 included:
- Launched Coffee with a Cop, a program that gives citizens the opportunity to speak with officers in a casual setting with no agendas, speeches or distractions.
- Hired a part time crime analyst who focuses on high-crime places and high-rate offenders to understand when, where, and how to focus limited resources, as well as how to evaluate the effectiveness of police strategies.
- Providing patrol officers with enough time to engage the community and participate in preventative policing.
- Police officers assigned to neighborhoods continued to attend neighborhood outreach meetings to discuss current issues and neighborhood safety.
Throughout 2017, SLOPD continued to receive complaints regarding adverse homeless behavior in the downtown. Many of these behaviors can be attributed to substance abuse, mental illness or a combination of both. Early in the year, SLOPD began working with County Mental Health to add a full time mental health specialist to compliment the Community Action Team. In 2018, the position was approved, and Transitions Mental Health Association (TMHA) was awarded the contract. Currently SLOPD is working with TMHA to fill the position, with a goal to have a civilian mental health profession in place in April, of 2018. The addition of the mental health position to the Community Action Team will greatly assist the SLOPD in addressing some of the needs within the community.
A strong relationship with community members who are willing to support police efforts and help prevent crime by reporting and engaging in neighborhood wellness is key to the City’s ongoing success in improving public safety. More information about 2017 crime statistics can be found in the Police Department Update on page 97 of the City Council report here: http://www.slocity.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=19167.
Contact: Deanna Cantrell (DCantrell@slocity.org), SLOPD Police Chief